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 Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of individual liberty,
 it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it,
and to agree to such new governance as to them shall seem most likely to protect their liberty.

Declaration of Independence, 1776 and  Plank 3.7. (Self-Determination) of the  2010 Libertarian Party Platform 
With minor updates,
as seen on the August 2002 edition of Liberty for All


      In August, 2002, Walter Williams wrote an article “Parting Company” reminding Americans that those who founded the United States made it clear that “every power not granted thereby [the Constitution] remains with them and at their will." Williams noted that “Congress has exceeded its delegated powers. And, yes, states have a right to take back (resume) powers delegated to the federal government – in a word the right to secede from the Union.” 
      Williams also endorsed the Free State Project, whose goal is to encourage 20,000 libertarians to move to New Hampshire and make it a model of liberty.  Or, as Williams, writes: “peaceably take over the legislature, negotiate with Congress to obey their oath of office to uphold the Constitution and, if necessary, secede from the Union.”  WorldNetDaily provided a poll on the topic of secession and fully 80% of respondents endorsed the concept of secession.
      Below are reasons I believe libertarians should emphasize secession – or for those who want to remain part of the union, at least community autonomy – as both an issue and a strategy.  (Note, libertarian promote not just the rights of states to secede, but individuals, communities and regions, however they choose to self-organize.)

1.  “COMMUNITY AUTONOMY” INCREASES PUBLIC CONFIDENCE: Libertarians differ over whether the United States federal government would – or should – survive true liberty.  However, whatever their position, they should be able to agree on the concept of promoting community autonomy – a vision of individuals' rights to form voluntary, private, contractual communities largely or totally free of state control. 
      Let’s face it, libertarians' biggest credibility problem is convincing people freedom does not mean they have to put up with strip clubs, crack houses, garbage dumps or chemical plants in their back yards.  Another is reassuring them "liberty" does not mean they have to give up working with others in community towards common goals. The Libertarian Party can address these "elephants in the living room" by emphasizing community autonomy.  It is up to individual activists and candidates whether, and at what point, they will advocate the right to secession and a radically decentralized political system.

2.  SECESSION IS THE MOST BASIC POLITICAL RIGHT: The Libertarian Party platform explicitly mentioned Secession until 2006.  It now recognizes the right of the people to alter or to abolish government; hopefully in future years the explicit right to se.
      In 23 years of libertarian activism I have never met a libertarian who would use police or military force to keep secessionist within the union--and I have asked that question of many libertarians.  Secession really is the ultimate libertarian issue.  Many libertarians believe that if the United States government recognized the right to secession, the U.S. would break up quickly into independent or loosely confederated states, regions and communities.

3.  SECESSION CUTS THE “GORDIAN KNOT”:  It could take hundreds of years of immense organizational and political effort to untangle the mass of taxes, laws and regulations governments at all levels have accumulated.  Secession cuts through that tangle as sharply as a knife through a knot.  You don’t need a majority to create a successful freedom movement, only a determined minority that compellingly and persistently asserts its right to be free on its own private property and in its own voluntary communities.

4.  EVEN REPUBLICANS TALKED SECESSION DURING THE 2000 VOTING DEBACLE:  During the six weeks that the 2000 Presidential election remained contested, Republicans contemplating the prospect of Al Gore “stealing” the election from George Bush openly talked of secession.  A New York Times reporter writing on this “secession” impulse agreed:” It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the [Presidential] race was about a cultural divide in American life.” Walter Williams noted: “Irreconcilability faces us today. There's one group of Americans who does not wish to bother anyone but wishes to be left alone. (More quotes below.) Another group of Americans wants to plunder and control the lives of others. This latter group of Americans shows no sign of letting up, much less retreating. A return to rule of law and constitutional government or separation are the only peaceful solutions.”
     The current post-September 11 “unity” is a temporary phenomena.  The welfare/ warfare/security state is increasing its stranglehold on increasingly angry Americans.  The abuses and failings of statism only will accelerate these divisions among Americans. That's why in the first decade of the 21st century so many progressives are now getting involved in secession movements.  See MiddleburyInstitute.Org

5.  THE LIBERTARIAN MOVEMENT CAN BECOME THE MODEL FOR INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENTS WORLDWIDE:  In a world where 189 nation states have conquered and gobbled up 5,000 ethnic, linguistic and racial groups, it is not surprising there are hundreds of self-determination and secession movements.  These are the cause of most conflicts within and among nations today.  American libertarians can lead these movements by creating a model of peaceful independence movements that respect human rights and liberty.  Let’s start by convincing “decentralist” Green parties worldwide to put secession in their platforms. 

6.  LIBERTARIANS ARE ALREADY ORGANIZING AUTONOMY/SECESSION MOVEMENTS: Like the Libertarian Party, the aforementioned Free State Project  has not settled on secession as its ultimate goal, but includes many secessionists. The International Society for Individual Liberty and the Libertarian International Organization promote Swiss-style confederations of cantons and communities which recognize the right to secession.  Lew Rockwell.Com repeatedly posts articles on secession.   FreeMarket.Net features a secession page.  Ad there is my own site,   There are a host of libertarian, free community, free country e-mail lists, web pages and projects like New Utopia, Freedom Ship  and the Atlantis Project.

7.  SECESSION STRATEGIES MUST BE NON-VIOLENT: When you tell supporters of the American federal union that you believe in secession they often will answer: that will never happen again, the civil war settled that.  They assume that secession will include threatened or actual violence and that the United States government, with a military as great as that of all nations on earth combined, will squash that violence with greater military force. And, of course, they are quite right.
     Unfortunately, too many libertarians have adopted the “ballot or bullet” philosophy–if we can’t gain freedom through the ballot, we’ll do it through the gun.  (A variation on the anti-capitalist anarchist street fighters who think smashing windows, burning banks and assaulting police will make their revolution.)  However, violent revolution just plays into the hands of the government which is delighted to trumpet its role of “saving citizens from violent extremists.” 
     Governments are powerless, however, to deal with truly non-violent secessionists, ones who have spread their message to the public through non-violent education and who use non-violent action and civil disobedience to demand freedom from U.S. government control. (See 198 Methods of Non-violent Action.) Governments can arrest hundreds, but then they will have to put up with the non-violent demonstrations of thousands.   Using violence against truly non-violent protesters will only make the government look bad and undermine government’s authority and credibility.  (Which is why governments try to plant violent agent provocateurs in non-violent movements.) 
     I would propose that for publicity and educational purposes we create a coalition supporting an Autonomy and Secession Amendment to the Constitution.  It would allow individuals on private property and homesteaded government property to be largely or entirely free of U.S. government control.  We would use all 198 methods of strictly non-violent education, publicity, lobbying and action to promote it.  When a critical mass of millions of Americans are ready, we would begin organizing coordinated non-violent token, and eventually actual, secession initiatives by private, voluntary, contractual communities.  See Secession.Net for more details of decentralist alternatives and secessionist strategies.
      Many libertarians feel that we have been spinning our wheels for forty years, cheering the occasional victory, even as the state increases its power over us.  Since September 11, 2001, our imperial government has had to tighten the grip on Americans so that it can be free to wage the wars – and impose the taxes – necessary for it to control the planet and its resources.  I have read that revolutions happen when governments radically loosen their grips – or when they clamp down on their citizens, as is happening today. 
     We may be on the verge of a revolutionary era.  Let’s be conscious about where we are going and how we are getting there.  Let’s make confederations of free, voluntary communities our goal and non-violent secession our strategy.

Commentary on:  Libertarian Party

*BOOT ROOT and His Elitist Cabal
*Libertarians for Peace press release
*Libertarian Spring: Revolution in the LP blog entry
(Most of elitist cabal booted from leadership; links to details)

Gary Johnson for President - Judge Jim Gray for Vice President

Blog entry on Wayne Root: "Shut up and take Jewish Voter$ Money"

CarolMooreReport blog entries on LP Convention 2008 and Bob Barr/Wayne Root Ticket:
Will Third Party Raiders Take Over Libertarian Party?
* LP: Making Lemonade with Two Lemons

* Bob Barr's Snubgate - see the links
LP Radical Caucus - Then (1979) and Now

Carol's Convention 2002 Report  (as published in LIBERTY magazine)
Carol's Convention 2002 Photos

Carol Moore 4 LNC Secretary 2002
Alternate Libertarian Strategies (Moore 2002)


Libertarian Party of D.C. photos when I was chair

Carol's Convention 1998 photos/report, including run for LNC Secretary

More photos to come as I scan them in (1987, 1993 and 1996 conventions)

Carol (at right) in 1980 with LP Presidential Candidate Ed Clark
and VP Candidate David Koch.


Libertarians for Peace

Pro-Choice Libertarians

Libertarian Party wiki


Laissez-Faire Books

International Society for International Liberty (ISIL)

Libertarian International Organization

Association of Libertarian Feminists


Literature of Nonviolent Resistance

The Voluntaryists (libertarian nonviolent action)


Carol Moore's blog at secessionist Vermont Commons

Middlebury Institute

Libertarian Party On Secession
LP Platform on Secession from the 1970s until 2002
Variations on the wording: We recognize the right to political secession. This includes the right to secession by political entities, private groups, or individuals. Exercise of this right, like the exercise of all other rights, does not remove legal and moral obligations not to violate the rights of others.

2004 Version

(The Issue):  People are forced to be subject to governments and to participate in their programs, usually as providers of financial support, regardless of their wishes to the contrary.
(The Principle):  As all political association must be voluntary, we recognize the right to political secession.  This includes the right to secession by political entities, private groups or individuals. Exercise of this right, like the exercise of all other rights, does not remove legal and moral obligations not to violate the rights of others.
(Libertarian Solutions):  We support the right of political entities, private groups and individuals to renounce their affiliation with any government, and to be exempt from the obligations imposed by those governments, while in turn accepting no support from the government from which they seceded.
(Libertarian Action/Transition):  As a transition step, we support the right of political entities, private groups and individuals to renounce their participation in any government program, and to be exempt from the obligations imposed by that program, while in turn accepting no benefit from the program from which they seceded.

The LP Convention, not having been provided with a copy of the platform, voted to abolish much of the platform, including the section below on secession.  Nevertheless, no true libertarian would support government action against secessionists who did not aggress on others.

In 2008 an attempt to rectify the deletion was made by substituting Plank 3.7. (Self-Determination) reading Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of individual liberty,  it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to agree to such new governance as to them shall seem most likely to protect their liberty.